Five best musicals to see in London this summer
London town is home to great theatre, famous across the globe for its treasured West End – second only to (maybe) Broadway in New York. So what is worth watching in this city, this summer?
If you’ve never seen Chicago on stage and only know it from the Hollywood film then you’re missing out. It has to be seen in the flesh (and there’s a lot of flesh on show). The men are beefy and scantily clad and the women are Vaudevillian and slinky. The set and costumes are pared back with an on-stage orchestra belting out all those classic Kander and Ebb hits. The choreography is note perfect with all the shoulder shrugs, finger clicks and pelvic thrusts that you expect from Bob Fosse. Yes, it’s the same old show that we got in the 90s but who cares? It’s a veritable classic. With murderesses this stylish and camp who needs anything new. Tickets reduced to £30 (some with no booking fee)
Bat Out Of Hell
Raven is a lonely girl – she’s not allowed outside at all – but she really wants to experience the outside world, to ride the subway, to meet a boy. In the outside world Strat (Andrew Polec) leads a gang of nomads and hangers-on, and he’s always dreamt of catching the girl – particularly Raven, but she’s not available. So all sorts of musical mayhem takes place including Strat trying to kidnap Raven so that he and her can be together. Meanwhile, one of the gang members (a fabulous Danielle Steers – returning) is slowly falling in love with another gang member, while she’s actually a maid in the Falco household. She knows their secrets, and lies.
This is the story, in a nutshell, but the way it’s told is spectacular. Motorcycles, explosions, video projection, skimpy costumes, a convertible on stage that was formerly a dining room table, and said convertible plunging off the stage into the orchestra pit – it’s all musical mayhem – from a rock classic album, and it is just as good on stage as it is on the album and when it played at the Coliseum. The cast dance and prance on stage, and with most of the songs dealing with love, Bat Out of Hell is a love story set to rock music. It’s loud, it’s crazy, it’s superb! No booking fee on tickets available. Tickets are available from £15.00
55 million people can’t be wrong, which is why Wicked is one of the world’s most successful musicals. Wicked is going into its 12th year in London and it’s still fresh, timely and defying expectations. Wicked takes you behind The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz story to find out about the two witches featured in the original story, “Wicked Witch”, Elphaba (you know the one – green and gets the bucket of water) – played by Alice Fearn and the “Good Witch”, Glinda (you know, the one that arrives by bubble) played by Sophie Evans. Tickets from £25.30
Playing at the Aldwych Theatre, Tina charts the ups, and many downs, of Tina’s life. Born as Ann-Mae Bullock, in 1939, we are shown, first hand, how, as a little girl, she was brought up in a violent household where her father hit her mother, causing her mother to move away with her sister (leaving Ann-Mae behind). Tickets available from £23.21
Mark Bramble, who originally wrote the book (along with Michael Stewart) directs this new production, and it’s a non-stop bacchanalia of fun! And with an amazing and flawless cast of over 50, 42nd Street has gotten better with time, even though it tells the same old time-trodden story of a young girl from a small town – Peggy Sawyer – who goes to the big city and dreams of making it big. She gets a job as a backup dancer in a new show called Pretty Lady, and the Pretty Lady in the title is Dorothy Brock (fabulously played by singer Sheena Easton). Brock is in love with Pat (Norman Bowman), who disappears off to Philadelphia. So Brock wants to follow him there, forcing the show to move to there. But Brock breaks her ankle, so after getting fired for causing Brock to break her leg, Sawyer is roped back into the show, this time as it’s lead, and she’s only got 48 hours to learn the part, to learn the dance moves, and is wooed and coddled by director Julian Marsh (Tom Lister). But it’s Billy (Stuart Neal) who really takes a liking to her. Will she be ready and rehearsed in time to open the show? Will the nerves get the best of her? I’m sure we can all figure out how it plays out – and plays out it does, much to our delight! No booking fee and tickets are available from £15.78